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English – The language of progress?

September 30, 2010 3 comments

India is losing business due to loyalty to English Language. We can’t do business with the French or Germans, Spanish or the Arabs. Swahili and Bantu, the Chinese and Japanese are out of bounds to us.

Mr. Feisal Ali (feisal.ali@gmail.com) contributed photograhs (sic) - Khwaja Mohammed Azam, a member of the Indian National Congress based in Ludhiana; friend of Jawaharlal Nehru; picture taken in 1947 when Nehru visited Ludhiana and stayed at my Khwaja Mohammed Azam's residence. (Pic courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger picture.

Mr. Feisal Ali (feisal.ali@gmail.com) contributed photograhs (sic) – Khwaja Mohammed Azam, a member of the Indian National Congress based in Ludhiana; friend of Jawaharlal Nehru; picture taken in 1947 when Nehru visited Ludhiana and stayed at Khwaja Mohammed Azam’s residence. (Pic courtesy – oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger picture.

On 15th August 1947, when Nehru made his ‘Tryst with destiny’ speech, he made a choice for India favoring English.

Status quo is not choice

At that time, an Indian economy in tatters and technologically stagnant, it was necessary choice.

To stay with the choice, 70 years later, is an expensive choice based on legacy and ease.

For instance, India’s recent success with the software industry, has been hobbled due to over-reliance on English language.

In the last 60 years, the issue of English language has acquired a tone of chauvinism, a smell of regionalism and parochialism. Over the last 24 months, 2ndlook has been making out a case against English language. Not on chauvinistic appeal but rooted in economic logic, on political advantage, on long-term benefit. To move forward, not on legacy, but by choice.

It was rather good to see this post linked below, which echoed the 2ndlook logic partly. Where this post missed out was how India software success also failed due to English language!

All the same, knowledge of English is probably an over-rated virtue. As the crisis over the Commonwealth Games has demonstrated, it cannot act as a guarantor of execution ability, efficiency or even honesty. Increasingly, it is becoming an alibi for the lack of enablers within the Indian system for talent to rise, irrespective of linguistic provenance and patronage. India makes much of the fact that its English-speaking population base has been turned to profitable use in the vast information technology (IT) and back office industry. In many ways, IT defines the dynamic new India. But surely independent India’s genius must go beyond leveraging a colonial heritage. (via Kanika Datta: The language of progress).

The Elite is using tax-payer money to create passports for their families to 'escape' to the English-speaking West.  |  Jerry Holbert cartoon on Monday, February 9, 2009; image source & courtesy - townhall.com

The Elite is using tax-payer money to create passports for their families to ‘escape’ to the English-speaking West. | Jerry Holbert cartoon on Monday, February 9, 2009; image source & courtesy – townhall.com

What is India missing out on …

India’s biggest economic success in the last 20 years has been the maturing of the software industry. That has also been its biggest failure.

Between 70%-80% of Indian software business comes from two countries – USA and UK. English speaking countries – both of them. Total software business to these two countries is about US$35-40 billion – out of total Indian software exports of US$50 billion. UK alone contributes nearly 60% of total EU software business to India.

India is losing business opportunities due to India’s loyalty to The Great British Gift To India – English Language. We can’t do business with the French or Germans, Spanish or the Arabic speaking world. The Chinese and Japanese are out of bounds to us – as are the Swahili and the Bantu.

English - The language of progress? Cartoon published in Times Of India on 14th December 1958 - Fifty years earlier. Cartoon by RK Laxman; republished in 2008.

English – The language of progress? Cartoon published in Times Of India on 14th December 1958 – Fifty years earlier. Cartoon by RK Laxman; republished in 2008.

In the past few years …

Like an earlier post pointed out, the lack of language skills has stopped Indians from exploiting the Japanese opportunity. This includes the software business. Same story in Europe also – major opportunities overlooked and ignored. RBI in the meanwhile has been complaining how India’s own IT players have been pretty useless in building a software platform for financial inclusion of India’s poor in the formal economic sector.

This is also true of other business opportunities also. Our ‘success’ with English blinds us to the bigger and larger opportunities that stare at us. And the first thing that we need to do is to diversify our language basket. But with our bankruptcy of ideas on restructuring Indian education system or the vested interest banging begging bowls in front of the Indian tax payer!

India missed out on Japanese investments, technology and business – due to a well-cultivated tunnel vision about English language (amongst many other things). Indian loyalty to English language exceeds the loyalty of the British themselves to their language – and we refuse to see how this affects us.

Is it due to the apparent Indian decision to tie its future to the sinking ship of the Anglo Saxon Bloc?

The Indian 'elephant' bows to English language, legacy and red-tape.  |  Cartoon by David Simonds; courtesy - guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010 00.06 BST.

The Indian ‘elephant’ bows to English language, legacy and red-tape. | Cartoon by David Simonds; courtesy – guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010 00.06 BST.

What India needs …

India should set up 7 specialized universities. One for Chinese and Japanese studies. Another university needs to focus on Franco-German language skills. A third must devote itself to creating a centre of excellence in Swahili and Bantu. A fourth must address the Spanish and Portuguese language markets. The fifth must address the SE Asian languages of Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. A sixth university must address the Russian and Slavic languages. Last and definitely, not the least, the seventh university must create a core of qualified and skilled people using Persian and Arabic languages.

This is, of course, apart from Indian language universities.

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Endgame for Manmohan Singh?

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment
(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

Tom-tom drums

In the deep jungles of Indian politics, tom-tom drums are beating. Some people who know how to read these drum-beats are saying that the message reads “Rahul baba is coming … Rahul baba is coming …”

Will Indira Gandhi inspire Rahul Gandhi

It is some 15 months of UPA-II. Will it be like the 1971 election of Indira Gandhi. Leading a lame-duck, Government for two years, after a flurry of populist tokens, like abolition of privy purses, bank nationalisation, Indira Gandhi called for ‘garibi hatao’ and an election.

Will we see an ouster of Manmohan, installation of Rahul Gandhi as PM, another flurry of populist tokens – and an election in 12-18 months.

Going by personal experience, the few 2ndlook posts in the last 3 months, on Rahul Gandhi have had unusual traffic. Reader interest has been higher than what the content would justify.

Listening posts

A report in The Times Of India reads

our economist PM’s lack of leadership gets manifested best in his absolute abdication of responsibility on issues concerning the country’s economy … foodgrains continue to rot for want of storage space … even as Naxals continue to kill our forces at will … the home minister’s response suggests it to be a ‘law and order’ problem, Digvijay Singh thinks otherwise … as the killing spree continues, the government’s absentee railway minister addresses a massive rally at Lalgarh with Maoist support and even supports an investigation into the death of a Naxal commander.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Pranab Mukherjee disapproves of Mamata Banerjee’s antics. But soon the Congress’s own heir apparent takes a dangerous left turn. Addressing a massive tribal rally alongside a suspected Naxal leader, Rahul Gandhi talks of being a soldier of the tribals in Delhi … What is most unbecoming of the ‘honest’ Singh is his constantly looking the other way on issues involving gross corruption. No wonder then that telecom minister A Raja and CWG chairman Suresh Kalmadi have seemed to carry on their reported exploits with impunity.

India deserves a more ‘in-control’ PM … what makes the PM-in-waiting, Rahul, choose to remain ‘shielded’ perpetually? Has he done a reality check and concluded that he is not prepared for the job? Is he worried that he might face the same flak when his opportunity comes? What is equally surprising is that our ‘PM-designate’ is just as invisible on almost all important issues. (via No Nightwatchman’s Innings – The Times of India; parts excised for brevity.).

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

National Advisory Council (NAC) takes over

A web-zine, MeriNews in a recent analysis points out

The SIX-year old trusted political equation between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh is said to be under pressure. Since the revival of National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by Sonia Gandhi …

All these six years, perfect understanding was maintained among these two power centers. While Sonia Gandhi looking after political issues of Congress-led UPA Government; Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was given free hand with regard to the affairs of the government. But the growing interest shown by Sonia Gandhi in the governance seems to be widening the gap between the two political titans.

At this juncture, the revival of NAC is seen as Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to take control over the administration on her own to pave way for the coronation of her son Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. …

Manmohan Singh  is taking all due care avoiding the media focus on himself. He has hardly given any full-length interview for any news paper or news channel. He is also not happy with the attitude of some ministers, who did not cooperate with him … only Home Minister P. Chidambaram interacts with the Prime Minister on a regular basis on all major policy issues. While all other ministers are trying to show that they are more loyal to `madam’ than the prime minister.

Manmohan Singh was upset when AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh had written an article questioning Chidambaram’s anti-Maoists policy at a time when the government was facing crisis following 76 CRPF jawans massacre in Chhattiasgarh. Whether Rahul Gandhi will be allowed to lead the nation or some intermediate arrangement will be preferred, is yet to be seen. (via Has Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh equation as a team ended?).

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

Insider knows

A BJP MP, Chandan Mitra, writing for The Pioneer, paints a similar picture. Some edited (for brevity) sections are reproduced below.

What happened in the Rajya Sabha on August 31, last day of the Monsoon Session … was probably the most incredible example of a Government under siege … from within. The … next day, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister sought to drape Congress MP Keshava Rao’s rebellion against … Kapil Sibal with the cloak of “inner-party democracy” reveals the … bewilderment. Later the same evening, … P Chidambaram and Digvijay Singh were back in the ring …this time over the term ‘saffron terror’. Was it mere coincidence that two efficient … Ministers — Mr Chidambaram and Mr Sibal — bore the brunt of Congress MPs’ wrath? Some … believe that … Mr Keshava Rao’s … access to 10 Janpath, the rebellion must have been staged … (knowing) that no consequences would follow.

leaders have begun jockeying for the post-Manmohan era. With Rahul Gandhi’s mounting visibility, carefully calibrated by sections of the media, Congress know it is a matter of time before the heir-apparent takes direct charge.

the Prime Minister sat through all five hours of the Nuclear Liability Bill debate in the Rajya Sabha. Congress MPs later complained they couldn’t even take coffee breaks because it would have been improper to gad off while he sat on impassively. From this unusual action it has been deduced by many that Mr Manmohan Singh is in the final stage of repaying his debt to Washington on the nuclear issue.

So now that the nuclear deal process is complete, Mr Manmohan Singh may prefer to walk into the sunset once US President Barack Obama’s visit happens in early November.

Proponents believe that 2011 or latest 2012 will be the year of transition … a political crisis may be deliberately stirred so that a fresh election has to be called to legitimise Mr Rahul Gandhi’s ascendancy since his mother believes electoral endorsement is what’s kept the dynasty going. Congress strategists have calculated that if an election is held within the next 12 to 18 months, with Mr Rahul Gandhi projected as Prime Minister, the party will win a majority on its own. …

some seniors in the party are already positioning themselves for such an eventuality — Mr Digvijay Singh for one [.] has been consistently making jholawallah-type noises … significantly, he has targeted Mr Chidambaram who is clearly doing his best to uphold the dignity and power of the Indian state. … Rahul is building a jholawallah team around himself, some inherited from his mother’s National Advisory Council, which now acts as a super-Cabinet, and the rest drawn from from across the globe, potential British Labour Party leader David Miliband included. I would rather have Mr Rahul Gandhi take over right now than permit his ambitious cohorts to inject chaos and disorder in governance so that they can herald the Crown Prince’s arrival into South Block as the knight in shining armour destined to ‘rescue’ India from drift. Who knows, maybe Ms Sonia Gandhi will time her ‘voluntary retirement’ to coincide with that so daughter Priyanka begins a long stint as Congress president! [Significant caveats and qualifications by the author excised for brevity. Read original, linked at the beginning and here to verify the credibility and degree of certainty of the analysis].

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Which way the wind blows

The wide- coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s support  to Omar Abdullah by the media was indicative of the way political winds are blowing. Did Omar Abdullah with nearly 12-15 years of experience in governance need Rahul Gandhi’s certification? The shrill attacks on the Government using Commonwealth Games is another indicator. Will the Ayodhya judgement by the Allahabad High Court be used as a trigger for displacing Manmohan Singh?

Time will surely tell. In the meantime, Rahul Gandhi would do well to remember that the Congress has really won just three election out of ten in the last 40 years. No doubt, the Indian Voter exudes warmth towards Rahul Gandhi.

To assume that this warmth will translate into votes is immature.

Commonwealth Games – Politics of Collusion

September 28, 2010 19 comments
Why should only the Congress misue CBI - let all parties misuse the CBI! (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt).

Why should only the Congress misuse CBI - let all parties misuse the CBI! (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt).

In the beginning

The Commonwealth Games (CWG) proves the point that democracy breeds a collusive polity. In the beginning was the BJP.

1. Why did Vajpayee Government bid for CWG? It defies all common sense. The Commonwealth is an idea that is long dead – and definitely irrelevant.

2. If it was persuaded by the Anglo-Saxon Bloc, what is the quid-pro-quo? What did India get from CWG? This Commonwealth benefits the British! Let them host it, pay for it, support it and ‘persuade’ us to attend.

3. Yesterday, Times Now TV debate tells that the Vajpayee Government paid out some thousands of dollars for each vote to ‘win’ the right to ‘host’ these games? Delhi beat Hamilton, New Zealand for this ‘privilege’?

Sorrier tale, I have not heard in many years. Even if the Vajpayee Govt paid nothing for this ‘privilege’?

We’ll walk hand in hand …

Coming to Kawngressis: –

1. If the Kawngress had an iota of honesty, they should have protested this bid in the first place. When the BJP /NDA was in power.

2. Having got this fait accompli, the Kawngress should have been determined to do this at least cost, minimum shosha, tamasha – like Mani Shanker Iyer has proposed.

3. They should have put some good, honest bureaucrats on the job to achieve point no.2. Not allowed the likes of Mike Fennell and Mike Hooper to abuse Indian people, hospitality – and spend lakhs on them every month for this privilege. Rs.6.0 crore spent on them in the last few years.

A job so badly botched up, I have not seen in the last many years. Any way you look at it, the CWG is a case of collusive polity. And no one, but no one, comes out of this clean or decent. Not in my books at least.

Corruption has got more coverage - drowning out the other related issues. (Cartoon by by IRFAN; courtesy - cartoonistirfan.blogspot.com.).

Corruption has got more coverage - drowning out the other related issues. (Cartoon by by IRFAN; courtesy - cartoonistirfan.blogspot.com.).

Craving approval – without actions and achievements

This bit about promoting sports is another bad idea. Why is the State getting involved in the sports business. If it has to get involved, it must promote Indian sports.

Why is India building this huge infrastructure to promote Western sports. Why do we want to prove to the world that we can be good at Western sports. Like a columnist put it

Burning money on a gala sporting event does not make us a super-power

Anyway, what has sports got to do with nationhood. This nation-competition-sports is one bad idea, which must be killed.

Try as hard as anyone may, I just cannot be moved by this idea. No Indian can put up a good show of something as dishonest as CWG. I am not surprised that CWG is going to be a disaster! It will take a Great Disbeliever in the idea of India, to put up a good CWG.

Great Indian shows

Is it that Indians cannot put up a good show?

About ten years ago, India put up a great show. Unrivaled in the last 100 years, at least, by any country. It was called Y2K.

The Western world was at the cusp of an epic disaster – Y2K. Computer systems had used two-digit number to denote years. In 20th century, this was efficient use of computing power when raw computing power itself was expensive. Coming to the end of 20th century, when the number would go from 1999 to 2000, it was expected the logic used by computers would crash.

Posted by Shreyas Navare on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 10.35 pm (Courtesy - blogs.hindustantimes.com.). Click for larger image.

Posted by Shreyas Navare on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 10.35 pm (Courtesy - blogs.hindustantimes.com.). Click for larger image.

The West needed to rewrite the entire code for their industrial systems. And they had no spare programming capacity to do it. Enter India. In a matter of 7 years, desi, backward Indians obtained contracts, understood programming designs, deciphered the code, redesigned the new system, coded and tested their new systems, trained users and handed over fully working systems on D-date. It is 10 years now. These Indian systems continue to run the Western world.

Most recently, the corrupt and scam-tainted Satyam put up a faultless show at South Africa Football World Cup.

What has money got to do

Let us be clear – corruption has nothing to do with this fiasco. A highly corrupt China put up a great show at Beijing Olympics.

The CWG problem goes deeper. Even if the CWG were to go off smoothly,  I can’t be proud of this. Even if, this corruption allegations were poppycock! I have no answer to a simple question? Why are we doing the CWG? And there is no good answer to this question.

Write to me. If you have one reason. Just one, honest reason. Why should we host and promote this hoax.

Can you really motivate someone to do a good job on Commonwealth Games? I wonder ...

Can you really motivate someone to do a good job on Commonwealth Games? I wonder ...

Rahul Gandhi on terrorism

September 21, 2010 16 comments
Self defence is an idea whose time has come. Ideas matter. Prejudices dont! (Cartoonist - Lisa Benson; Cartoon Courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com.).
Self defence is an idea whose time has come. Ideas matter. Prejudices dont! (Cartoonist – Lisa Benson; Cartoon Courtesy – cartoonistgroup.com.).

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday had a surprise suggestion of empowering villagers to fight terrorism.

“I am confident that this country can take on terrorism. Defeating it is no problem. If we empower those people in villages, we can sit back, relax and we will destroy terrorism in 15 minutes,” Gandhi told a press conference here. (via Empower villagers and defeat terrorism in 15 minutes: Rahul).

Are we making terrorism into a slogan

Twitter, Facebook, private emails are all buzzing about the latest statement by Rahul Gandhi on terrorism. Mostly critical. With bits like ‘we can sit back, relax’, Rahul partly deserves ridicule. But the core of his statement is a rare piece of sense.

Strangely, when Rahul Gandhi does make his rare sensible statement, unthinking reaction is to reject. Terrorism is a case where a ‘disarmed’ population has been made dependent  on the State for defence at even the local level. Would the attackers of Mumbai’s Taj Hotel have dared if they had known that many of the people were armed and liable to fire back?

To all Rahul baiters

This is one smart thing he has said. What if it his first good idea! In fact the idea is so good that no government would dare to do such a thing! Including Rahul Gandhi himself, if he were to come the Prime Minister tomorrow.

Hitler car to be used for Nepal palace tourists

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment
Hitler in his own Mercedes Benz Photograph by - Archive photo, Popperfoto/Getty Images; Courtesy - Montreal Gazzette

Hitler in his own Mercedes Benz Photograph by - Archive photo, Popperfoto/Getty Images; Courtesy - Montreal Gazzette

A car said to have been a gift from Adolf Hitler to a Nepalese king will be repaired and used to drive visitors around the grounds of a palace museum, a government official said on Thursday.

The 1939 Mercedes-Benz was presented by the Nazi leader to King Tribhuvan, grandfather of Nepal’s last King Gyanendra, deposed two years ago. (via Hitler car to be used for Nepal palace tourists).

Ernst Schäfer, leader of the Nazi expedition to Tibet in 1938. (Picture courtesy - channel4.com)

Ernst Schäfer, leader of the Nazi expedition to Tibet in 1938. (Picture courtesy - channel4.com)

German activities in Indian border areas

Why would Hitler send a car as a gift to the King of Nepal?

Behind that is an interesting history of manoeuvrings by European powers in Asia. The Tibetan kingdom, sought to counter-balance the British and the Chinese power, by increasing Japanese-German presence. Result – German activity in the Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet region was significant in the 1920-1940 period.

Dr.R.Wilhelm Filchner was an early German traveller in Tibet, China and North West India in 1903-195. Filchener’s second expedition, in 1924 took longer, covered greater distances with more complications. Albert Von Le Coq’s (the German version of Auriel Stein) book in 1928 covered North-West India, Tiber, North-East China, Eastern Iran region. Paul Dahlke, set up the Buddhistisches Haus at Berlin in 1924.

Religion and Occult

There is a certain amount of mysticism and occult elements also. Theodore Illion (German writer of a strange traveller’s account titled Darkness Over Tibet) wrote of mystics in underground cities, who would help the Aryans to conquer and rule the world. The names of Friedrick Krohn and Karl Haushofer are also related to this genre.

In 1920, Friedrick Krohn, a member of the Thule Society, suggested the Hakenkreutz, a symbol used by the Thule Society, to Adolf Hitler for the nascent Nazi Party. An unlikely theory by French researchers Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier that it was Karl Haushofer (a Tibeto-phile from Germany), close to Rudolf Hess and also knew Hitler, who contributed to the idea of Hakenkreuz, the Nazi swastika. The Hakenkreuz was being used by the Nazi Party before Hitler met Haushofer.

Tibetan moves

It is known that Hitler sent his scientific advisors for studies to Tibet (via Sikkim). These were anthropological studies and culture studies. During Hitler’s short reign, a German expedition went to Tibet (at Tibet’s invitation), led by Ernst Schäfer, included Bruno Berger, H.A. Lettow, (from the Himmler’s SS group), Heinrich Harrer’s travels during WWII have become famous with Seven Years in Tibet film with Brad Pitt.

Hitler’s interest in Nepal, Tibet and Sikkim underscored the importance of the British possession of India in world affairs at that time.

And not Hitler’s occult, religious and racial beliefs.

Flap over Indian Electronic Voting Machines

September 19, 2010 5 comments
The Great Indian Election Tamasha (Cartoon by Paresh Nath, Published by The Khaleej Times, UAE, Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

The Great Indian Election Tamasha (Cartoon by Paresh Nath, Published by The Khaleej Times, UAE, Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

All’s well …

Hari K. Prasad, the techie who was pushing the case for secure Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), earlier arrested, has now been released on bail.

Fears of the Vindictive State seems to have been misplaced. Instead, we had a judge who echoed, pretty much what 2ndlook said. The judge said,

if the machine was possessed by the accused for demonstrating only that it could be tampered with, then the accused committed no offence. On the contrary, he has done a great service to the democracy,” the Judge said in the bail order.

Tathastu!

How can the land of snakes and elephants get the latest technoloy seems to be the thrust of these aruments? (Cartoon by Patrick Corrigan; Published by The Toronto Star; Crtoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com.).

How can the land of snakes and elephants get the latest technology seems to be the thrust of these arguments? (Cartoon by Patrick Corrigan; Published by The Toronto Star; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com.).

If developed countries have rejected EVMs …

One worrisome argument states that since many ‘advanced’ countries rejected EVMs, India too must reject the same.

The question seems to be, “Do you think the Indian Election Commission is better than the US Federal Election Commission?” Since, election authorities in Netherlands and Germany have rejected EVMs, another favorite question is “Are you saying that the Government of Netherlands and Germany are wrong?” Even ‘advanced’ countries don’t have EVMs.

Why should India have it.

Paralysis by analysis

Paper based systems are also prone to frauds. Like ‘oldsters’ in the Indian electoral scene will point put. Whatever technology is used, elements of fraud are likely to rear their heads. A recent post in The Economic Times recounts

a story to illustrate how there have always been allegations against electoral systems. “Balraj Madhok (former politician and co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh) once alleged that Indira Gandhi had colluded with the Russians and imported a special election ink. Wherever it is marked in the ballot paper, the ink would disappear and reappear against the Congress symbol. This is like that,” he says.

If the above story is factual, it would mean, a combination of two inks. A disappearing ink that would fade away a few days after being used on the ballot paper. The second ink would have to be an ‘invisible’ ink, that is embedded in the ballot paper at the printing press itself. This ‘invisible ink would make its appearance a few days or weeks after the ballots are printed. Do such inks exist?

I haven’t the foggiest notion.

A new day … a new way

Making the system work, after the decision is made is a good thing. Paralysing a system with ‘doubts’ instead of ‘karma’ is a bad idea. If EVMs need improvement, let us do it.

For tomorrow, I would propose a paper based system with central data-base and a printer-server with printers in every polling booth. These printers will print a ballot-paper on demand, for that booth, with date-time-location-serial number-election supervisor-election observers ID stamp, that will have better security than EVM or the ‘current’ old printing machines.

The story so far …

By December, the movement had a book of its own, written by Rao, the psephologist, and a growing number of supporters. One of them, Satya Dosapati, a technician from AP living in the US, connected the movement with Rop Gonggrijp and Alex Halderman. Gonggrijp is a Dutch activist who was part of the team that persuaded his country to scrap electronic voting. Halderman holds a PhD in computer science from Princeton University and is currently an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. When Prasad eventually got hold of a machine, Gonggrijp and Halderman worked with him to demonstrate two ways in which a potential hacker could manipulate the machine.

Alerted, the EC asked officials to check for bluetooth devices in EVMs during the first step in securing a machine for an election. Engineers from the manufacturing companies are also now required to certify that all components are original and have not been tampered with. They also have to ensure the absence of any external component. It’s unclear though if all the components in 1.3 million machines can be rigorously tested and cleared by engineers before every election.(via ET Special: Can the Electronic Voting Machine be manipulated? – Page3 – The Economic Times).

How Tony Judt died and became Saint!

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment
St.Tony Judt - The media and academia in cahoots with the State (Cartoon by Pavel Constantin, Romania; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

St.Tony Judt - The media and academia in cahoots with the State (Cartoon by Pavel Constantin, Romania; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

The beatification of Saint Judt

The last 30-45 days has seen a surge on obits, reviews and tributes to Tony Judt.

Tony who? Exactly. An unknown writer till a few months ago, has suddenly become famous in his death. Media (at least in India) has gone overboard. But when Marathi media started on Tony Judt, it was high noon. The straw on the camel’s back.

OK, guilty of misrepresentation. Not the camel’ back! It was my back.

There  seems  an effort at beatification of Tony Judt. In the modern era, temporal authorities, award a quick Nobel Prize, pin a Congressional Medal of Honor – and the process of ‘secular’ sainthood is completed. Media aids by marching to the drumbeat of the State. These ‘secular’ sainthoods by the ‘modern-secular-liberal-progressive-democratic’ establishment are not meant to be enduring or important. They , the latter-day, disposable, ‘secular’ saints, serve a utilitarian purpose to their masters – the State.

Tony Judt is no exception.

How come 'modern' Western identities are not included by Tony Judt in his 'problem' list? (Cartoon By - Angel Boligan, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons)

How come 'modern' Western identities are not included by Tony Judt in his 'problem' list? (Cartoon By - Angel Boligan, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons)

From the safety of a university cloister

By being overtly anti-Israel, Tony Judt, gets an inside track into the Islamic mind – to start his ideas of ‘identity’.

A self-confessed, Social Democrat (but that is not ‘identity’) Tony Judt is the type who speaks from the comfort of a winning side.

We know enough of ideological and political movements to be wary of exclusive solidarity in all its forms. One should keep one’s distance not only from the obviously unappealing “-isms”—fascism, jingoism, chauvinism—but also from the more seductive variety: communism, to be sure, but nationalism and Zionism too. And then there is national pride: more than two centuries after Samuel Johnson first made the point, patriotism—as anyone who passed the last decade in America can testify—is still the last refuge of the scoundrel. (via Edge People | The New York Review of Books).

As fortunes shifted and wavered, Tony Judt’s recounts how his family moved from one declining economy to another growing economy. From Eastern Europe, vaguely in a region near Russia, to Antwerp in Belgium thereon to Britain and finally to the USA. He finds

over the years these fierce unconditional loyalties—to a country, a God, an idea, or a man—have come to terrify me. The thin veneer of civilization rests upon what may well be an illusory faith in our common humanity.

The West has systematically deformed Islamic identity - after dismantling the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoonist - Paresh Nath, Published by - The National Herald, India)

The West has systematically deformed Islamic identity - after dismantling the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoonist - Paresh Nath, Published by - The National Herald, India)

To people like Tony Judt, identity is a matter of convenience. And they rightly, recommend that people must have no identity – and by extension, no loyalty. Fly flags of convenience. May the highest bidder win.

I wonder where Judt’s family was, when the Belgians were flogging the Congolese.

Sainthood by the Vatican

The ‘modern’ State and the media of the Free World have it easy when it comes to cannonising people like Tony Judt!

The Catholic Church has a rather exacting process, stretching over a few years, at the very least. The Catholic Church even appoints a Devil’s Advocate – someone who tries to find reasons why the candidate should NOT be declared a saint.

This process has sometimes taken decades too. After multiple processes and steps, a committee. the Congregation for the Causes of Saints decides on these issues. With the kind of rigour that the Vatican process follows, Saints have ‘public memory’ life span extending to centuries.

The perversion of the Islamic world started with the break up of the Ottoman Empire (Cartoon By - Emad Hajjaj, Jordan; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com)

The perversion of the Islamic world started with the break up of the Ottoman Empire (Cartoon By - Emad Hajjaj, Jordan; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com)

Coming to Saint Judt

Today when the West is paying the price for creating a misshapen Islamic identity, people like Judt thinly speak out against identity – an Islamic identity. Or when the West faces a challenge from Asia, China and India, it pays to talk of less identity.

This idea of less identity would not be such a bad idea – if you have so little of identity, to start with!

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